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00 RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR 
DE RUEHVJ #1695/01 2091711 
ZNY CCCCC ZZH 
O 281711Z JUL 06 
FM AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4045 

INFO RUEHZL /EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 

RUFOAOA/USNIC SARAJEVO PRIORITY 

RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC PRIORITY 

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CONFIDENTIAL SECTION 01 OF 02 SARAJEVO 001695 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

EUR (DICARLO), D (SMITH), P ( BAME ) , EUR/SCE (HOH, SAINZ , 

FOOKS), NSC FOR BRAUN, USNIC FOR WEBER, GREGORIAN, OSD FOR 
FLORY 

E.O. 12958: DECL : 07/28/2016 

TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV ASEC IS LE SY BK 

SUBJECT: BIH REACTIONS TO THE CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: 

POLITICAL PLOY OR CAUSE FOR CONCERN? 

Classified By: Classified by A/DCM Dorothy Sarro, reason 1.4(b) and (d) 

I. 1. (C) SUMMARY: The Israeli-Lebansese crisis, and the 
broader Middle East conflict are garnerning an increasing 
amount of public and political attention in BiH. Government 
statements and media reports are generally factual and 
correct, but some local public figures have begun to 
manipulate the Israel-Lebanon crisis for domestic political 
gain. Media reaction in some quarters has become 
increasingly critical of the United States and the 
international community. On July 29, a local youth-based 
humanitarian organization will hold an anti-war 
demonstration, which police expect to be peaceful and attract 
in the range of 100 people. END SUMMARY. 

GOVERNMENT AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS 1 STATEMENTS GENERALLY 
BALANCED 

II. 2 . (C) On July 21, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) 
released a press statement calling for an immediate ceasefire 
and urging international intervention to prevent further 
suffering and casualties among the civilian Lebanese 
population. It went on to say that BiH condemns all forms of 
terrorism and extremism. The MFA urged a return to 
negotiations for a lasting peace in the Middle East that 
would ensure the continued existence of the State of Israel, 
while also granting Palestinians their own state and 
restoring stability to Lebanon. On July 27, the BiH House of 
Peoples (HoP) adopted a resolution proposed by the Bosniak 
Caucus urging the international community and the UN Security 
Council to take necessary measures to secure an 
all-encompassing and just peace in the Middle East. The 
resolution also urged the UN to provide humanitarian aid to 
unspecified "unsafe areas" and called on BiH authorities, 

NGOs and citizens to participate in collecting aid. 

13. (C) At Friday prayers on July 21, Reis-l-Ulema Mustafa 

ef. Ceric, leader of the Bosnian Islamic Community, called on 
the world to stop the war in the Middle East and to prevent 
the further suffering of innocent civilians in Lebanon, 

Palestine and Israel. He added, however, his concern that 
some people have the right to defend themselves by killing 
innocent civilians while others have no right to even harvest 
their own land. (We interpret this as an allusion to Israel 
and its military might versus that of the Palestinians and 
Lebanese, and a thinly-veiled message of sympathy for the 
more extremist Islamic elements within the wider Islamic 
Community of BiH.) 



THE MIDDLE EAST AS A DOMESTIC POLITICAL FOIL 



1[4 . (C) Reactions to the Middle East conflict also are 

playing out in local political rhetoric. Hasan Cengic, a 
member of the extremist wing of President Tihic,s Party of 
Democratic Action (SDA) and HoP delegate, spoke out against 
Tihic in the final pre-holiday session of the HoP July 27. 
Cengic "asked" Tihic nine questions in his speech, most of 
which centered on the sale of weapons by Bosnia to Iraq. The 
attack was a transparent attempt to paint Tihic as 
"anti-Islamic" for contributing to the continued bloodshed in 
the Middle East, and by doing so, undermining Tihic, s 
presidential candidacy and authority within SDA. (Note: 
Cengic 1 s outburst is particularly noteworthy as he was one of 
the most notorious arms smugglers during the Bosnian war, 
working closely with the Iranians to supply the Bosnian army. 

Cengic was the subject of a major scandal last year after a 
Bosnian court acquitted him of charges connected to his 
wartime activities. End Note.) 

EDITORIALS INCREASINGLY CRITICAL 

1[5 . (C) Contrary to its tendency to minimize coverage of 

world events that do not impact BiH or the region directly, 
the Bosnian public, government and media are paying 
increasing attention to the Israel-Lebanon conflict. Media 
reaction in some quarters has become more critical recently 
of the United States and the international community. 
Initially, media attention focused almost exclusively on the 
humanitarian aspect of the crisis rather than the politics 
behind it. Although there has been virtually no 
sophisticated analysis of the crisis in the media, there has 
been a recent increase in media-driven criticism against the 
United States (and other international actors) claiming that 
the international community has not done enough to broker a 

SARAJEVO 00001695 002 OF 002 



ceasefire and stop the bloodshed. 

11_6 . (C) Media reaction to the Reis's July 21 sermon has been 

harsh in some circles. An editorial in Dani magazine (an 
influential weekly newsmagazine, not widely-distributed 
outside of urban areas and frequently critical of U.S. 
foreign policy) slammed the Reis for his comments, saying 
that Bosnians should be ashamed of the Reis 1 s sermon because 
he failed to adequately criticize Israel for attacking one of 
the least powerful nations in the world. Pecanin also 
chastized the U.S. for its attitude toward the conflict, 
going as far as to say that "only the naive believe that 
President Bush is as stupid as he looks and is not aware of 
the consequences of open American support to the newest 
crimes of the State of Israel." Pecanin continues that by 
not forcing a ceasefire, "there can now be no dilemma about 
America's true strategy in the Middle East... the global 
radicalization of Muslims as an excuse for future military 
interventions using today the Iraq and Lebanon scenario, 
tomorrow Syria, shortly thereafter Iran and then in any area 
where the dictatorship of American puppets comes into 
question . " 

SMALL ANTI-WAR PROTEST PLANNED IN SARAJEVO 

T_7 . (U) In protest against the current crisis in the Middle 

East, the Bosnian-based Democratic Youth Movement (DOP) has 
scheduled an anti-war demonstration in Sarajevo for July 29. 
Specifically, the group rallies Bosnians - who all too well 
understand the cost of war - to "show the world that (we) 
disagree with the violence and killing of innocent children 
in Lebanon." The DOP describes itself as a student-based 
humanitarian organization founded as an advocacy group for 
the youth of BiH in all areas of society. The organization's 
mission is to encourage young Bosnians to take an active role 
in the future of BiH and is active in charity work to combat 
drug addiction and other maladies that plague Bosnian youth. 
Sarajevo police anticipate a peaceful crowd of approximately 
100 protestors. 



1[8 . (C) COMMENT: The harsh criticism from Senad Pecnanin, 

Dani ' s editor-in-chief, is notable because Pecanin is not a 
nationalist or Islamist by nature, and in the past has been 
threatened by Islamic radicals for his work in exposing and 
criticizing the role of foreign Mujahedin in the Bosnian war. 

On the political front, Cengic,s outspoken statement in the 
HoP is symptomatic of the overall cleavage in the Bosniak 
political community, represented best by the rivalry between 
Tihic and Party for BiH (SBiH) Presidential candidate Haris 
Silajdzic. Right-wing Bosniaks are using the Middle East 
Crisis and the Iraq war (along with the domestic issue of 
constitutional reform) as a foil to illustrate differences 
between Silajdzic and those who support him and moderate 
Bosniaks like Tihic and Social Democratic Party (SDP) Leader 
Zlatko Lagumdzija (who is facing attacks for being a 
"Communist" and a "traitor" to Islam because of the 
investigation and prosecution of some SDA wartime leaders 
when his coalition was in power from 2000-2002.) Post has 
seen no evidence that these political attacks are anything 
but domestic pre-election politicking, but will continue to 
track carefully reaction here to the situation in the Middle 
East. END COMMENT. 

CEFKIN